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CNET First Look
Samsung Focus (AT&T)The Samsung Focus will be one of the first Windows Phone 7 devices to hit U.S. shores. Is Microsoft's revamped mobile operating system worth it? Find out in our First Look video.
Hey, everyone. I'm Bonnie Cha, senior editor at CNET.com and today I'm here to give you a first look at the Samsung Focus, one of the first Windows Phone 7 devices launching here in the US. The Focus will be available from AT&T on November 8th and if you've ever seen one of Samsung's Galaxy S series devices, the Focus will look and feel very familiar to you. It's an all touchscreen phone with a gorgeous four-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen and, overall, very slim and light. Like I said about some of the Galaxy S models, it's a little more plasticky and slick than I'd like but it doesn't feel fragile. Of course, the main difference between the Galaxy S phones and the device is that the Focus is running Windows Phone 7. Now, I already gave you a preview of what's new in Windows Phone 7, but I'll highlight some of the main things again. First of all, you get a completely new user interface and I have to say I really like it. The Start screen consists of live tiles which are essentially dynamic widgets to your apps, contacts, and hubs. You can customize which tiles you want and where and the cool thing is that you're not just limited to apps and contacts, you can actually pin individual web pages and maps on to the screen as well. A full list of your apps is available to the right of the Start screen. Once you move beyond the Start screen, everything is arranged in hubs based on categories such as People, Music and Video, Games, et cetera, and from within these hubs, you can pan right and left to view more information and perform more actions. Now, a couple things we weren't able to show you last time were the Marketplace and Xbox Live integration so I'll give you a little preview here. Right now there's about 450 apps in the Marketplace but Microsoft says it's pretty confident that it will launch with more than 1000 apps when the first phones launch on November 8th and that it plans to release several hundred apps per week until the end of the year. I'm not so much worried about the quantity as I am about the quality of apps but from what I've seen so far, things look promising. A few examples I have on the Focus are the IMDB app and Fandango where you can buy movie tickets and watch trailers. There's also this iFood Plus app for recipes that's pretty nice and the official Twitter client. They all look beautiful and offer similar user experience as the hubs. As far as gaming, the Xbox Live integration isn't fully functional on our review unit here. For example, I can't personalize my avatar from the phone just yet but we did have a few simple games available for download. Here, I have Twin Blades and it takes a while to start up but once going, the gameplay was smooth and fun. Switching back to the Samsung Focus itself, this smartphone offers a 1 GHz processor and 8 gigabytes of internal memory and a micro SD expansion slot. It also has a 5-megapixel camera with flash which I thought took better photos than the HTC Surround. Obviously, Windows Phone 7 kind of takes center stage here but it's nice to see Microsoft offering a variety of designs and I think the Samsung Focus is certainly one of the more broader appealing Windows Phone devices. For me, Windows Phone isn't so much about beating the iPhone or Android, it's more about offering people another choice and I think Microsoft's built a pretty solid option here in Windows Phone. There are definitely a number of features including some basic ones that I hope to see pushed out in the near future but if you're an AT&T customer and not impressed by the iPhone or the carrier's mediocre Android lineup, the Samsung Focus is definitely worth a try. I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your first look at the Samsung Focus for AT&T.